Social Development Working Paper on 'An Emerging but Vulnerable Middle Class: A Description of Trends in Asia and the Pacific'

Social Development Working Paper on 'An Emerging but Vulnerable Middle Class: A Description of Trends in Asia and the Pacific'

Date: 
Thursday, December 26, 2019
Type: 
Public information and advocacy materials
Abstract

This paper examines the extent to which economic growth in Asia and the Pacific has translated in an increasing middle class. Using international poverty lines, the region’s population is divided into four income groups to estimate those living in poverty according to middle-income country and high-income country standards. Estimates indicate that between 1999 and 2015, 1.2 billion people moved into the Asia-Pacific middle class, while the share tripled from 13 to 39 per cent of the total population. This expansion, however, did not translate in an income-secure middle class, as almost 1 billion people still live at risk of falling back into poverty. Examination at the country-level reveals that big disparities persist in the region.

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